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A Scottish Romance

Chapter 5

I slowly awoke trying to move my legs and arms, but a sharp pain raced through my body. Biting my lip I tried not to scream out. My mind seemed to be covered in a thick fog. I remembered falling to the earth and I wondered if that’s where I still was I felt around with my hands, no grass or dirt just a smooth fabric beneath me. Someone must have found me and brought me inside, I thought.

“Try not to move, luv. You had a nasty fall. . . everything’s fine now.” A soothing male voice told me.

Warm fingers moved the hair from my face. I opened my eyes, now fully awake blinking a few times before seeing my surroundings. I first saw a patchwork quilt wrapped around me, I was stretched out on a sofa in a small cottage. All over my body aches d pains were battling each other to be noticed. I felt weak, if my hair could have hurt it would have. Where am I, I wondered. I expected to find myself in my parents home laying on a bed. Instead I found myself alone in a small cottage with a strange man and for all I knew he could have kidnapped me and planned to torture me.

The air was filled with the smell of fresh paint. I faced a small square window without any curtains. At the moment I found it absurd that a window should not have any curtains hanging above it. It just didn’t feel complete to me. Outside the sky was dark with anger. The room which connected to the kitchen with only a half wall connected to a counter was sparsely decorated. No pictures hanging on the wall, tables or other chairs, just a small lamp sitting on the floor in a far corner trying its best to light the dim cottage.

I have been kidnapped! Why else would I be in an empty cottage with a strange man? Think, Kathleen, what should you do? Should I scream or try to run?

“An ambulance is coming out, Paul.” A tall man with black rimmed glasses walked to the foot of the sofa .

He doesn’t look very mean, but then again they say you have to look out for the least suspicious ones. I do know one of their names, I should remember that, it could be useful to the police when I get out of here. Where ever here is.

“Ta, Mal.” The same soothing voice spoke again. I turned my head to the left to see James sitting across from me on the floor, a fire blazing in the fireplace behind him. His hair slightly damp, the indication of water marks on his blue button down shirt like someone splattered dark blue paint across him. The firelight illuminating his features as it crackled in front of us both. At that moment I wanted to reach out and stroke his face and have him nuzzle my aching body against his. His deep, rich voice soothing my every affliction.

I let out a heavy sigh thanking God above for taking care of me and for not letting my worst fear come true. I was safe in High Park Farm with James McGregor only a few feet from my touch. I had nothing to be scared of. All my worries floated away like the mist from the ocean, disappearing into the great unknown.

I opened my mouth to speak, “ James, it’s you.” My mind even more confused than before. “W-what happened?” My voice sounded as if it was a hundred miles away, even my tongue was weak.

“I’ll get you a cuppa to warm you, luv.” The tall man named Mal walked into the kitchen. I watched as he poured water into a silver tea kettle and set it on the stove to heat.

James smiled down upon me as he sat up on his knees to tuck the blanket more tightly around me.“You were riding a horse when it started to rain. The sound of the thunder startled the horse and he threw you.”

“She.” I said correcting James on the sex of my horse.

“Do you not remember, luv”

“Yes, everything’s just jumbled in my head right now. How did I get in here?”

“Mal and I were out surveying the land and saw you fall. We carried you inside here and tried to warm you. We’ve called out an ambulance to take you to hospital.” He reached out again to touch my face. “You had me worried, Kathleen. . .I thought you would never wake up.”

I smiled up at James. It felt good to have a man worried about me especially one that was so cute and charming as he. “I guess you two are my knights in shinning armor.” I watched Mal hand James a cup and saucer. I lifted my lead arms out of the blanket. I realized that I too was wet. James helped me to hold the cup up to my mouth. I could feel the hot liquid slide down my throat and into my frigid stomach.

“I’ll just go out and watch for the ambulance, Paul.” The man named Mal announced. James set the cup and saucer on the floor and I waited for the door to close behind Mal. The hot tea must have awoken my sleeping brain for this time I realized Mal was calling James Paul. “Why does that man keep calling you Paul?”

James looked at the floor for a moment tracing imaginary lines on the carpet with his finger. When he spoke his gaze continue towards the floor, his voice unsteady and chary. “It’s my middle name. My closests friends call me by it.”

“Oh.” My head began to hurt even more. “My parents, they’ll be worried about me.” I tried to push myself up, a shutting pain went through my back and my head felt like someone used it for a punching bag. “Bloody ‘ell.” I clutched my hand on my forehead.

“Don’t move, Kathleen. The doctor should be here shortly. I’ll call your parents for you.”

I looked over to find a concerned and worried look on James’s face. “James, you look so worried. I’ll be fine, just a bit of a headache and sore muscles. Nothing a bit of rest can’t cure. Thank you for being so nice and kind. Now please call me parents before they go out of they’re mind with worry.”

“Right. Kathleen. . . “

“What?”

“Never mind. You just rest.”

I gave my parents phone number to James and decide to take his advice.

Minutes later I opened my eyes to see Mal, two men caring medical bags, and my parents coming through the door rushing to myside.

“Mummy, Dad.”

“Are you alright, Kathleen?”

“I’m fine Dad,” My mothers face filled with concern as I whinced from the pain, “really mum.”

James takes my parents aside so the medics could look me over. Right away they got to work checking my pulse and breathing. I noticed one of the medics kept looking at James weirdly. James must have noticed this too because he turned his back on the medic and continued talking to my parents. The other medic, the one who was examining me and who will now be called the first medic, caught his partner not paying attention. Nudging him in the stomach the first medic told his partner to write down what he said. Then he started asking where I hurt. I told him about my back and when I mentioned my head he got a worried look on his face.

"Did she lose consciousness at any point?" The first medic asked James.

“She did for a few minutes.”

“Did she seem confused, dizzy?”

“No, she asked how she got inside. She was more in pain than anything else.”

“Do you feel dizzy now, luv?” The first medic tenderly took ahold my hand looking into my eyes. His eyes were as green as Ireland in the spring. I had to look away so as not to get lost in the fields of green.

“No. I just want to go home and get a goodnights rest.”

“I’ll be looking in your eyes now.” He used a tiny flashlight to light my eyes. This time I had no choice but to peer into his eyes. It seemed as though beautiful men were all around me that day. “ Both equal and reactive, that’s a good sign.” He ran his hands over my arms and asked me to squeeze both his hands. Next he checked my legs and when he came to my right ankle I winced in pain.

“Don’t think it’s broken, but they’ll x-ray it when we take you to hospital.”

Up to this point I had never spent time in the hospital except for the day I was born and I’m convinced I didn’t like it then either. “Hospital? Is that really necessary?”

“ Don’t argue, Kathleen Grace. Your going and that’s that.” My mother stepped behind the medics.

“I think you should listen to your mother, Kathleen. Your in allot of pain and you need to get checked out more thoroughly.” James piped up from his position behind my mother.

My mother gazed up at James smiling. She then turned it on me as if saying, “This is a good one, Kathy. Don’t let him slip away.”

“We’ll be getting the stretcher then. Would you help or would you like to say here and daydream all day?” The first medic said to the other caught in the act of staring at James again.

The daydreaming medic stood up still gazing at James. “You look very familiar, Sir.” He lifted his hand up to scratch his head.

James shifted his feet looking at the medic nervously.

“Are you P...” The medic tried to ask, but was cut off by Mal stepping in between him and James.

Another person who is puzzled by James. Who could he remind us of, I thought to myself.

“I’ll assist you in getting the stretcher.” Mal said as he briskly maneuvered the Medic to the door.

I continued to muse over the scene between James and the medic. The medic sure seemed positive in knowing who James is or who he thought he was. Should I ask James about it? No, he seemed uncomfortable with the medic, I don’t want to upset him even more. Besides with this headache I can’t think straight.

“How can we ever repay you, Mr. McGregor? If you hadn’t seen our Kathy I just. . . “ Tears formed in my mother’s eyes. Dad wrapped an arm around mother comforting her.

“It was truly nothing at’ll, Mrs. Caldwell. The best way to repay me is to make sure Kathleen gets better, that’s thanks enough for me.”

The two men along with Mal returned with the stretcher and they slide me off the couch onto it. My body filled with pain and I almost slipped out a few not so nice words, but then remembered my mother was in the room and moaned instead.

In my ear I heard James whispering, “Get better fast, Kathleen. We still have a dance to fulfill. I have to leave tomorrow so I’ll be calling your mum to see how you are.”

I moved my head to look into his eyes. His face only inches from mine. If I hadn’t been in so much pain and so many people around I’d like to think that I would have kissed him. I could feel his breath upon me, his delicious sent of soap and ciggies mixing together to create a most intoxicating aroma. He squeezed my hand gently just as the medics pushed the stretcher outside.

They placed me inside the ambulance. My mother decided to ride to the hospital with me while my father drove the car. It seemed like years before we arrived at the hospital, every little bump on the gravel road jarring my body and sending me into more pain. The medics said they couldn’t give me anything for the pain until we got to hospital.

I was pushed inside the hospital doors to met my doctor. He checked me over once more before sending me up to x-ray and then over for tests. I prayed there wouldn’t be any needles, I HATE needles. They took several x-rays of my right foot and back, then shipped me over for many tests. When the whole ordeal was over an orderly pushed me down to my room. My parents were there waiting for me. A nurse came in shortly carrying two plastic cups; one filled with water and the other a pain pill. I quick seized ( well as fast I could) the two and swallowed. My mother sat by myside smoothing the hair against my forehead like she did when I was a child. Dad paced about the room, I had to close my eyes before he made me dizzy.

Sometime before I fell into a deep sleep the doctor came reassuring myself and my parents nothing was broken nor was there anything else to worry about. He said the nurses would be in to check on me every four hours during the night to make sure I didn't develop a concussion. My right ankle was sprained and the nurse wrapped it and elevated it. Somehow the doctor convinced my parents they should go home for a good nights rest.

“Don’t you worry about anything, Kathleen. I’ll take care of everything, you just rest.” She leaned down giving me a kiss on the forehead. “Goodbye, luv.”

“Goodbye, Mummy.”

“Get some sleep. We’ll be back in the morning. Bye, sweetheart.”

“Bye, Daddy.”

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